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Mister Lyrics Geek on SMS by David Crowder Band October 2, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Music.

Amy is a song-repeater. If she has a favorite song on a CD, she will play it back-to-back-to-back. In fact, the CD was a wonderful invention for her, since song repeating is far more difficult on cassette. I rarely repeat a song, but sometimes I’m in the car, and totally struck by a song, or I missed a certain lyric and want to hear it again, and I’ll hit that Back arrow once.

I’ve been repeating a song on the new David Crowder CD lately. A lot. It’s called SMS [Shine]. SMS apparently stands for the first line, “Send me a sign”, but it’s also a clever play on words (play on acronyms?), since SMS is the abbreviation for Short Message Service, also known as text messaging. So, the song is about messages that tell of the presence of God.

The first verse reads like the Psalmist complaining about the silence of God. “Send me a sign, a hint, a whisper. Throw me a line, ‘cause I am listening. Come break the quiet, breathe Your awakening. Bring me to life, ‘cause I am fading.”

There is a hint of desperation in Crowder’s vocals, until the quiet piano rises for a chorus of repeated half notes that turn the prayer to worship: “Shine Your light so I can see You. Pull me up, I need to be near You. Hold me, I need to feel love.” And then there’s the last line, another subtle play on words that moves me:

“Can You overcome this heart that’s overcome?”

I’m not normally a big fan of wordplay in songs. Remember that Point of Grace song that beat you over the head with the bridge across the great divide? You just knew it was going to become a cross to bridge the great divide, right at the key change. Somehow, though, Crowder manages these lyrical tricks so well (see Wholly Yours), as SMS so beautifully demonstrates.

The next verse is critical. In the silence of God, we must remember that He’s acting out of love, and our evidence is His track record. Here, Crowder (and cowriter Jack Parker) recall the greatest sign ever sent, Christ. Look at the contrasts between verses one and two:

Send me a sign, a hint, a whisper  |  You sent a sign, a hint a whisper
Throw me a line, ‘cause I am listening  |  Human divine, Heaven is listening.
Come break the quiet, breathe Your awakening  |  Death laid love quiet, Yet in the night a stirring

Now, notice the little changes in the chorus that follows:

Shine Your light so I can see You  |  Shine Your light so all can see it
Pull me up, I need to be near You  |  Lift it up ‘cause the whole world needs it
Hold me, I need to feel love | Love has come what joy to hear it
Can You overcome this heart that’s overcome?  | He has overcome, He has overcome

For me, this is a master class in lyric writing. The words convey a simple message but do so with the richness and importance the message deserves: when God is silent and seems distant, faith is sustained by the sign He already sent, and it’s all in the Bible (His text message). I think sometimes all it takes for Him to start speaking again is for us to remember that truth.



1. kaysi - October 6, 2009

Stumbled across your blog while searching for the *correct* lyrics to this song… What great insights!! This is a repeater song for me, too, especially now that I have a deepened appreciation for its message. Thanks for sharing!

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